Personal Sustainability for Mental Health, by Lindy Cook

One in five Australians will experience mental illness this year and it is an issue many workplaces are now taking very seriously.

In 2015, Mental Health Week will run from Sunday 4th to Saturday 10th October. World Mental Health Day is marked every year on the same date, 10th of October. The week aims to raise awareness and understanding of the issues facing so many.  Anyone can get involved, all you need is an interest in your own good health and wellbeing.

We all have a role to play in looking after our mental health – eating a nourishing, balanced diet, exercising, getting adequate rest and being kind to yourself and those around you. These all sound good, but in reality they often get forgotten in our busy lives.

In the lead up to World Mental Health Day focus on a simple activity that would benefit you – make a mental health promise to yourself. It might be writing  a gratitude journal, walking for half an hour several times per week, cutting your sugar intake,  signing up for yoga, downloading (and using) a mindfulness app or committing to be kind to yourself and your colleagues. Simple actions and intentions can have powerful consequences.

At Corporate Chillout we can visit your workplace and activate, educate and engage your staff in some simple (and sometimes surprising) ways to nurture their physical and mental wellbeing. During Mental Health Week we can also send daily motivational messages directly to your in box. Let us  provide the inspiration for your staff to work on their own personal sustainability.

Nutrition

It’s not just your waist line eating a poor diet can impact upon. Research now suggests that depression and dementia are affected by the quality of our diets. Indeed, studies from countries as diverse as Norway, Spain, Japan, China, England, America and Australia show people whose diets are healthier are less likely to experience depression. Research also shows that people who eat a more unhealthy diet, high in junk foods are at increased risk of depression. Processed foods – high in sugar, fat, salt foods – not only undermine your optimal nutritional status, but impact upon our mental wellbeing.

So, it really is true you are what you eat.  Most people fail to realize that your gut is quite literally your second brain, and actually has the ability to significantly influence your mind, mood and behavior. In fact, the greatest concentration of serotonin, which is involved in mood control, depression and aggression, is found in your intestines, not your brain! So it actually makes perfect sense that eating a healthy diet to nourish your gut flora for optimal serotonin function will have a profound impact on your mood, psychological health, and behaviour. In fact, recent studies have shown foods and drinks rich in probiotics can play a role in curbing social anxiety in young adults.

Aim to include fermented foods in your diet on a regular basis. You can try making some of these foods yourself or visit your local health food store, they generally to stock a large range. It won’t just be your digestive system that reaps the rewards.

Fermented Foods

–          Sauerkraut

–          Kombucha

–          Tempeh

–          Kefir

–          Pickles

–          Natural Yoghurt and Coconut Yoghurt

–          Miso

–          Kimchi

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the practice of purposely focusing your attention on the present moment—and accepting it without judgment. By focusing on the here and now, many people find that they are less likely to get caught up in worries about the future or regrets over the past, are less preoccupied with concerns about success and self-esteem, and are better able to form deep connections with others.

Basic mindfulness meditation – Sit quietly and focus on your natural breathing or on a word or “mantra” that you repeat silently. Allow thoughts to come and go without judgment and return to your focus on breath or mantra.

Meditation and Yoga

Yoga reduces the physical effects of stress on our body. By encouraging relaxation, it helps to lower the levels of the stress hormone cortisol. This has many related benefits including lowering blood pressure and heart rate, improving digestion and boosting the immune system as well as easing symptoms of conditions such as anxiety, depression, fatigue, asthma and insomnia. Yoga helps us to focus on the present, to become more aware and to help create mind/body health. It opens the way to improved concentration, coordination, reaction time and memory. The meditative aspects of yoga help many to reach a deeper, more satisfying place in their lives.

Leave a Reply